JUNE 10, 2019 – ABC News Article on Sheltered by Grace
After years of living on the streets, recovering ice addict Robert Drew is using his talent to help others doing it tough, as Brisbane experiences one of the highest spikes of homelessness in the country.
Mr Drew, or "Fingers" as he is sometimes called, was born with no hands and has lived on the streets of Canberra and Brisbane for many years.
But despite his disability, he used his artistic talents to get through the tough times, by selling his sketches.
"I had to beg for money every day and line up at food vans, it was chaotic," he said.
"I was smoking pot, shooting up ice, drinking and trying to waste my life away because I couldn't cope."
And now he's now selling them to raise money for the homeless shelter that helped him.
"By the age of three I knew I was different from other children and I thought, 'what can I do to give me the feeling that I am just as whole as everyone else?'. So I started drawing pictures," he said.
"At five years old my first piece of art — a watercolour — sold for about $40 and I thought, here is something I can use.
"As soon as I pick that pencil up I feel like I'm healed."
The talented sketch artist was housed by not-for-profit community organisation Sheltered by Grace, near Logan in Brisbane, two months ago.
The 41-year-old said it helped him get clean for the first time in 20 years.
"Here, there are no drugs, no threat of violence. I feel like I have won the battle," he said.
"I can be a normal person again."
The Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) is pressuring the Queensland Government to make tackling Australia's worsening homelessness crisis a priority in the lead up to the state budget, saying a serious cash injection was needed.
Sheltered by Grace, which can house 12 people, is one of several homeless shelters across the state at full capacity, as cities like Brisbane struggle to keep up with demand.
"We turn away 15-20 people every day and we are getting more families, especially women and children, coming to us for help," founder Jason Loakes said.
"It's incredibly frustrating."
Mr Loakes said the State Government had spent some money on affordable housing, but more was needed for emergency accommodation.
"We also need to make the red tape easier to get through," he said.
"It's a nightmare because you're dealing with all three levels of government when you try to set up a homeless shelter and it's very hard to get them to work together."
The State Government will announce a $97,000 funding boost for the shelter this week, to expand counselling services and provide space for extra beds.
Mr Loakes said while the funding was welcomed, much more was needed.
The number of homeless people in Australia has jumped by more than 14,000 — or 14 per cent — in the five years to 2016, according to the latest census data.
QCOSS CEO Mark Henley said Brisbane had experienced one of the highest jumps in the country, with a 32 per cent rise in homelessness in those years.
"It's completely unacceptable and shouldn't happen in a country like Australia," he said.
"We want the government to set far more ambitious targets in investment in social and affordable housing [when it tables the budget on Tuesday].
"Housing is a critical area and there has been an underwhelming underinvestment, so we want them to step up to the mark this year."
The State Government had previously committed $1.8 billion for the next decade, to a housing strategy that would include 5,500 new social and affordable homes, but Mr Henley said that was not enough.
"We identified the State Government needed to invest in a minimum of 53,000 social and affordable homes over the next 10 years," he said.
Housing Minister Mick de Brenni admitted the gap between the State Government's housing targets and the target outlined by QCOSS was wide, but said the Federal Government needed to be the one to step up.
"We don't think it's ok that any Queenslander has to sleep rough or can't afford to pay their rent or mortgage," he said.
"We need to see all levels of government stepping up here, we need to see the Federal Government play a role."
The Minister would not specify whether the State Government would commit additional funding in this week's budget to expand its targets, but confirmed it would continue to roll out its 2017 Queensland Housing Strategy.
"We've set a target under the strategy [last year], that we will direct deliver 5,500 affordable homes [over 10 years]," Mr de Brenni said.
"It's impossible to get into the housing market if you don't have a job, that's going to be our primary focus in this year's budget."
“Thank you to Jason and Lisa from Sheltered By Grace for the work they are doing helping house homeless people. Listen here to why emergency accomodation is important!” – Luke Howarth”
JULY 28 2019 – The Courier-Mail Article on Sheltered by Grace
A CHARITY that provides shelter to homeless men and women in the Logan area turns away up to 25 people a day because of a lack of facilities.
Sheltered By Grace’s Jason Loakes said the organisation currently has a 12-bedroom house for the homeless at 157 Old Logan Village Rd, Waterford, and has approval for another three buildings providing 72 beds to cater for the growing crisis.
However, a lack of funding has stalled their plans to cater for more homeless men and women in the Logan area.
Mr Loakes said according to the census there are about 1000 people classed as homeless in the area and the organisation turns away “up to 25 people a day” whom they then try to help with alternative shelter.
“Homelessness is a growing problem that has been swept under the carpet,” he said.
“When people think of the homeless they think of the stereotypical person dressed in rags suffering from mental health or substance abuse problems, but the reality is we have sugar coated what it actually means to be homeless resulting in an unknown number of Australians who are homeless and don’t think they fit the definition.
“Everyone knows a friend or a relative who is couch surfing or crashing at a mates and they aren’t really considered to be homeless but in actual fact, with no fixed address, they are.”
Since late 2015, the independent charity has helped more than 400 homeless men and women over the age of 25 by providing 24-hour accommodation and also help from doctors, psychiatrists, personal trainers, nutritionists and drug and alcohol counselors.
Recently Sheltered By Grace was one of 10 recipients to receive a grant through the Gambling Community Benefit Fund which will allow for the organisation to expand its operations and help many more people who are homeless or facing the prospect of becoming homeless.
Mr Loakes said they are honoured to receive the grant but understand the reality is while this will help some of the people coming to them for support, this grant will only be able to help a handful of the thousands who are homeless,” he said.
“We are very appreciative of the support from the Queensland Government and this grant will go towards increasing our capabilities helping those affected by homelessness, but we do need the continual support of the community to help address the issue further into the future.”
JUNE 18 2019 – Jimboomba Times Article on Sheltered by Grace
A WATERFORD homeless shelter is planning to have the capacity to accommodate eight more people by Christmas this year.
Sheltered by Grace was presented with a $97,795 Gambling Community Benefit Fund grant this month to go towards the construction of a two story Homeless Transition Centre building to provide on-site counselling, training and accommodation at Old Logan Village Road.
For the past nine years, counselling services have been completed on a limited basis inside the shelter’s administration building due to financial constraints.
Chairman Jason Loakes said the Homeless Transition Centre would be a massive step forward for Sheltered by Grace.
“In practical terms, we can finally give private on-site counselling seven days a week in an appropriate setting,” he said.
“If any job network service providers want to do on-site training they will have the space to do it and we can house more people. Instead of accommodating 12 we could take on eight more people.
Waterford MP Shannon Fentiman and Attorney General Yvette D'Ath presented Sheltered by Grace with a $97,795 Gambling Community Benefit Fund grant.
"It is not a lot in the scheme of things but it is a good start compared to nothing else."
Waterford MP Shannon Fentiman said the state government funding would support some of the most vulnerable people in Logan.
"I am so pleased that this funding will go towards helping locals who truly need assistance," she said.
"This grant will be used for the expansion of the organisation's existing facility, which means more accommodation, counselling, rehabilitation and training services.
"Sheltered by Grace is made up of an amazing group of people and I cannot praise them enough for everything they do for our community."
Mr Loakes said it was vital to have the project complete before Christmas in order to be in the best position to meet an anticipated demand for homelessness services.
"It means a lot to us at the shelter to have this done because Christmas Day can be a time involving alcohol, drugs and family," he said.
"Sometimes it is fantastic, at other times it is deadly.
"Over the past nine years we have been at our busiest in the December and January period."
Donations toward the project are still welcome with Sheltered by Grace expecting a $50,000 financial gap to meet labour, material and certification costs.
Friday 19 June 2015 – The Reporter Article on Sheltered by Grace
Kelly Daniels’ awesome article on Sheltered by Grace can be found as an attachment. In this article, Kelly explains that Sheltered by Grace is raising money to build our second stage of our local homeless shelters. We need community help to build an additional and much needed 36 bedrooms in order to transform the lives of the homeless.
We currently have had earth works graciously donated and building approval in place. We plan on doing the building in stages beginning with the first 12 bedroom module. The first thing we need is concrete for the foundations. If you, or someone you know has contacts that can help us with concrete, please get in touch with us. Your help is greatly needed, and greatly appreciated!
This article appeared in the Quest Paper’s Albert and Logan News on Thursday 24 April 2014. It outlines our Chair Jason’s personal vow to end homelessness and outlines the way in which we can achieve this.
This article also features Kevin, who is one of our Transformation Story successes. You can see his story here…
Please share this article with those you know who may be able to help us transform homelessness. If we work together as a community, it is possible to achieve massive change and influence the community to help us transform lives.